poritiesThere are two species of Porites in Bermuda, Porites porites the Clubbed Finger coral, and Porites asteroides the Mustard Hill or Lumpy Coral.  The name is really quite descriptive!  Both species live in the nearshore areas on patch reefs. They have quite small polyps.  The colonies can reach a 1 meter, draped over existing substrate.  Porites broods or releases live young rather than sperm and egg packages like most corals.  This characteristic makes it an "opportunistic" species able to rapidly take advantage of new space on the bottom.  When a ship strikes the reef, it can crush and destroy much of the benthic community. Studies in Bermuda by Dr. Robbie Smith for his Ph.D. research demonstrated that Porites dominates the corals first colonizing such a grounding site.